Cape Town, South Africa (PressExposure) June 12, 2009 -- The ebook world is growing rapidly, and we are in for a few interesting changes in the way things work. Currently, Amazon is the leader, by far, in the ebook world. Their Kindle is the most popular ebook reader around. They probably sold around half a million Kindles last year, and they may very well sell a million Kindle 2âs this year. Their brand new big screen model, the Kindle DX, will start shipping in a week from now and is expected to be particularly popular among those who want to read textbooks in ebook format. Not to mention that when the iPhone became one of the most popular devices for reading ebooks (despite having a small screen, not using E-Ink, and not having anything near Kindleâs battery life), Amazon bought up the Stanza reader for the iPhone and launched their very own application called Kindle for the iPhone.
But others are getting in on the ebook action. Just last week, Google announced that they will take on Amazon, and start selling ebooks by the end of 2009. And within the near future, we will see Apple seriously entering the ebook world.
In January 2008, Steve Jobs said in a New York Times Interview that the Amazon Kindle would go nowhere, mainly because Americans no longer read. âIt doesnât matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people donât read anymore,â he said. âForty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole concept is flawed at the top because people donât read anymore.â
This was already a good indication that Apple was cooking up an ebook reading device of their own. Jobs is known for misdirecting attention away from what Apple is working on, and has previously denied that Apple would build an iPhone and said that people would never want to watch videos on their iPods.
Now, rumour has it that Apple will be announcing a 12 or 13-inch tablet around September or October this year. This device will run the full Mac OS X; will have a slot loading SuperDrive, an âiPhone-typeâ GPS chip and an Intel Core Duo processor â probably Intelâs Atom. And it will, without a doubt, be an ebook reader (amongst other mysterious and exciting things).
But there are plenty of ebook readers out there. Why would yet another one change the ebook world as we know it? One thing that all of the current ebook readers have in common is that they are not terribly attractive. Michael Tamblyn in his talk on 6 Projects That Could Change Publishing for the Better, pointed out that carrying one of the current ebook readers around is about as attractive as wearing home-made Star Trek Jewelry or Bluetooth Headsets. What we need is a device that will make us look smarter than we actually are, just like actual books do.
Apple managed to turn a mobile phone that has no picture messaging, slow Internet access, no video capture, and that breaks the first time you drop it, into the most desirable phone in the world. Clearly, they have what it takes to make reading ebooks look sexy.